I have always tried to maintain a civil posture in my blogs; however, sometimes blunt language is necessary. African Americans and other minorities continue to trail the rest of the country in receiving the coronavirus vaccine, and this is the time to speak out more stridently on this issue. African Americans and people of color need to receive equal access to the coronavirus vaccine, and it must begin immediately.
Here’s how the Associated Press framed this inequality: “An Associated Press analysis shows that Black people in many parts of the U.S. are lagging behind whites in receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. Statistics released by 17 states and two cities tell the same story: Through Jan. 25, Black people were getting inoculated at levels below their share of the general population. The early look at the racial breakdowns of those getting the shots is particularly troubling given that the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention says Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans are dying of the virus at nearly three times the rate of white people.”
Due to the expansion of eligibility to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by the Centers for Disease Control and as a pre-registered Type-2 diabetic, I received my first vaccine shot. As President Joe Biden has called for an aggressive expansion of vaccine production under the Defense Production Act and made a commitment to release more doses, it is important that we continue to encourage everyone to register to receive their shot. This is especially critical in the African American community, as only 4% of the 1.7 million doses administered here in New Jersey have been received by African Americans.
I felt it was my responsibility to receive this shot publicly because I am deeply aware of the distrust and hesitation felt by many in the African American community to get the vaccine. This is born frankly out of the appalling and unacceptable historical inequities and mistreatment of people of color with respect to health care and medical experimentation in our nation’s history. The extended tragedy of that experimentation continues today in the psyche of many African Americans, whose apprehension causes them to hesitate to enroll for the vaccine.
Our nation’s top medical experts have carefully reviewed the vaccine’s trials and its effectiveness. Virtually all experts agree that to stop the coronavirus and protect our citizens, vaccination is an integral part of the answer.
However, once we overcome the hesitation, we still face the issue of allocation. We can begin by ensuring that everyone — especially people of color — register for the vaccine, particularly if you are at higher risk than the general population. This is especially true if you have a medical condition, because that factor can affect survival rates.
You can preregister for the vaccine at https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccine. The site also contains valuable information about how to access the vaccine. If you are uncomfortable registering via computer (or don’t have one), call the New Jersey COVID-19 Call Center (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) at 855-568-0545. Or, if you’re in the Burlington County region, visit www.virtua.org/vaccine to register for an appointment at the Burlington County Mega Site.
As a consumer alert, especially for seniors, never pay to register or make a vaccine appointment. It is free.
African Americans continue to pay an undeniable, unfair burden in terms of receiving the coronavirus vaccine. I cannot stress too strongly how important it is for everyone to register for the vaccine. Receiving it will help to protect you and those whom you care about.
Please register TODAY.
That’s my take, what’s yours?